37 insanely useful gifts for toddlers that aren’t toys

by Holly
useful gifts for toddlers

Tired of giving the same old toys to your toddler? If you’re feeling uninspired and don’t want to pile on more playthings, then this post is just for you! Here are 35+ unique and very useful gifts for toddlers that aren’t toys.

As a parent to two active youngsters myself, I’ve been hunting for useful gifts that will last my kiddos beyond just this holiday season. Each suggestion here helps kids explore different activities beyond playing with plastic pieces. Plus a few practical items are thrown in the mix so they can learn about being organized and responsible.

Whether it be the perfect present for their birthday or a Christmas surprise, these thoughtful ideas will open up a world of learning opportunities.

most useful gifts for toddlers that aren't toys

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Play tents & tunnel

Kids Teepee Tent

Our tent is my kids’ favorite corner in the house.

They love cuddling with their stuffed animals in there and pretend they are camping out. This tent is so cute that it has a see-through window and a compartment inside for books. The canvas is thick and the wooden poles are super sturdy. My kids have climbed on the poles several times and it’s still going strong!

useful gifts for toddlers

This tent can be easily personalized too. I decorated it with a cute rainbow macrame and fringe trims. You can decorate and even paint on the canvas to make it a super special gift for your toddler.

3 in 1 Pop up Tunnel Tent 

This pop-up tunnel tent is perfect for outdoor or indoor.

There are multiple pieces to this tent and each part can be used together separately. It’s foldable and lightweight making it perfect for families on the go. You can bring this to a park, beach, or even grandparents’ house.

What makes this tent useful is that it really helps with gross motor skills and is perfect for pretend play.

This pop-up tent is large enough to be enjoyed by kids of all ages too.

Sports-related gifts for toddlers

Roller Skates and Gears

Your toddler is never too early to learn how to roller skate. These innovative skates easily convert from a tri-wheel to inline skates.

Madi was only 1.5 years old when she received these skates and she has been learning how to skate ever since. These skates are also adjustable for sizes 7-11 and come is many vibrant colors.

usefule gifts for toddlers

Also, don’t forget that helmet and knee pads. Madi fell a lot when she started roller skating so be sure to protect your toddler whether it be skating or biking.

These elbow and knee pads are soft yet heavily padded. It even comes with bike gloves!

Balance Bike

A balance bike introduces toddlers to the feeling of being on a bike, building up their confidence by encouraging striding and allowing them to practice bike-handling skills.

Balance bikes are proven time and again to teach boys & girls to ride faster than training wheels. Toddlers will learn balance & steering, which makes transitioning to a bicycle with pedals much easier (when the time comes).

This top-rated balance bike is one of the best out there. Basically, everything on this bike is adjustable. Plus, the foam tires will never go flat!

Potty training accessories make useful Gifts for toddlers

Gotta Go Flamingo

Seriously the most genius invention for potty training kids. This Flamengo will be your toddler’s new best friend.

Sherbet is an interactive, toilet-trained flamingo who loves to sing, wiggle, chat back, eat, and poop – on the toilet! Feed him the magical quick dry food. Watch him chew the food and sign “Uh Oh! Gotta Go!” you’ll know it’s time to place him on the toilet and watch as he poops!

This useful toy is designed to bring hours of laughter for toddlers while they learn how to use the potty.

Potty training books

P is for Potty! (Sesame Street) 

This is the book that helped potty train both of my kids. Sesame Street is known for its high-contrast colors that instantly capture any kid’s attention. Neither of my kids are Sesame Street fans but they both love this interactive book.

P is for Potty is the perfect mix of fun and learning for potty-training toddlers—especially while they practice sitting on the potty.

potty training books as useful gifts for toddlers

There are more than 30 flaps to find and open. After 2 kids, these sturdy flaps are still holding up.

I teach my kids about potty training through the visuals of this book. And when it comes to potty training, we bring this book to the restroom. My kids would sit on their training potty and have lots of fun finding surprises under the flaps.

useful gifts for toddlers

Other useful potty training books for toddlers:

Soft Potty Training Seat

For all potty training tots, this soft potty seat will help to make potty training fun. My son is a fan of Paw Patrol. Having this removal seat makes going to the bathroom easy and fun. It also comes in many other colors too.

What makes this seat a practical gift for toddlers is that it’s lightweight so travel-friendly, easily removable, and will last for years.

potty training gifts that are also useful

Other great toilet training seats:

Realistic Potty Training Toilet 

We received this training toilet as a gift. As a mom, I can say that this is one useful gift my toddler and I appreciate. Not only is this toilet a split image of our actual toilet, it feels and makes flushing sounds just like the real one.

Madi was stubborn when it comes to potty training. She’s scared of being high up in our normal toilet but she would actually practice sitting on this one. We did a lot of pretend play with this training toilet (there is a storage compartment to store toys and books). This makes potty training and transitioning to the real thing easier.

potty training toilet as useful gifts for toddlers

Bookcases & toy organizers are useful gifts for toddlers that save parents’ sanity

Bookshelf With Storage Organizer

Any family with a toddler can benefit from better organization, and a bookshelf is a must-have. This one upgraded bookshelf has small pockets to fit all the tiny stuff and pull-out storage to store bigger stuff.

What I love about this bookshelf is that all the corners are polished smooth and round, making it very safe for active toddlers.

Extra Large Toy Organizer

We used to have a smaller toy organizer but soon my kids outgrew them so I upgraded to this one instead. This extra-large toy organizer stores 25% more than other ones.

I love that the toys are easily accessible. The top shelf can be easily reached by my 1.5-year-old.

What’s best is that this toy organizer makes clean-up a breeze for the kids too.

useful gifts for toddlers toy organizer

Toddler-size furniture are very useful gifts for toddlers

Activity Table and Chairs

This was a gift from the grandparents and the kids absolutely love it. They spent a big chunk of their time playing, drawing, and building on this desk.

What I love about this multi-functional table is that one side is for building legos and you can flip the tabletop to create a smooth surface for drawing and any creative play. The two storage drawers are large enough to fit more than 5000 pieces of Legos each.

My kids have been using this table and chairs set for a couple of years already and they are no wear near outgrowing it.

practical gifts for toddler table and chairs

Picnic Table with Umbrella

Your toddler will be able to enjoy the backyard fun with this cute picnic table. Comfortably fits six kids, any family will appreciate this useful gift for their backyard.

This realistic sandstone and paver-styled picnic table include a removable 5′ wide umbrella. Rugged molded plastic is easy to clean and resists fading. Great for picnics, games, and projects. Available in 2 color options.

Outdoor Toddler Playset With Slide

This will be your toddler’s favorite spot in the yard! W loves to go on the slide and watch as the 10 balls zig-zag down into the ball pit.

Sometimes, I’ll stop the plug in the ball pit, and fill it up with water or water beads for some serious sensory play.

This playset helps kids with their motor, sensory, and creative skills, making it a useful gift for any toddler.

useful gifts for toddlers boys

Learning Tower is a very useful gift for toddler

Do you have a curious toddler who loves to watch what grownups are doing in the kitchen? This learning tower makes a practical gift for kids who wants to be involved.

Unlike other learning towers, this one has the option to be enclosed on all sides so if your toddler is younger, you can drop them in and out and they’ll stay safe in there.

When your child is older, you can remove the screens once he’s better at climbing in and out safely.

Both toddlers and parents will sure to appreciate this useful gift!

Educational gifts for toddlers that are useful and fun

Toddler Approved Books

Ah, books! You may be wondering why more books if your toddler has lots of books already. For me as a mom, books are the only thing that a toddler can never have too much of.

Kids nowadays are glued to electronics, making a good ol’ fashioned read a precious commodity. Not only does it expand their minds, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for parent-child bonding.

We read books as part of our bedtime routine and my toddlers appreciate reading different books every night.

books as useful gifts for toddlers

Here is a list of my toddlers’ favorite books

Floor Puzzle

This USA floor map puzzle by Melissa & Doug makes a useful gift and will grow with your toddler.

All 51 pieces have customized details, including the state name and capital, with most states including a primary industry or hallmark of the state such as the Statue of Liberty for New York.

My toddler wasn’t able to complete the puzzle all by himself when he first received it. However, he loves to play it with me helping him. We’d made lots of great memories playing this puzzle together. Now that he’s older, he’s able to piece everything all by himself. And in a few years, he’ll be able to learn all the states and each hallmark thanks to this floor puzzle!

puzzles as useful gifts for toddlers

Other amazing floor puzzles for toddlers

Flower & Herb Gardening Kit 

Teach your toddler about gardening and the appreciation of nature with this complete gardening kit!

Kids will have fun decorating their pots, then planting seeds. The included peat pellets make growing an herb and flower garden easy!

What’s useful about this kit is that kids can learn the science behind their garden as they watch it grow and track its progress.

Toddler Busy Board

Lightweight and travel friendly, this busy board is a must-have whenever we travel.

This Motissori-inspired busy board develops toddlers’ fine motor skills and basic life skills through play. This makes a useful toddler gift because it helps them learn about life skills through buttons, snaps, shoe-laces, zipper, and various types of buckles.

This busy board doesn’t make sounds so no batteries are required and this is also a good quiet time activity.

Write and Learn Creative Center

This magnetic drawing board provides a fun way to get a head start on learning how to write with writing and drawing activities. W learned a great deal about upper and lower cases by following along with the animated demonstrations. As a mom, I love that it’s mess-free so no clean up required!

useful gifts for toddlers that inspire creativity

Art & stationary supplies as a non-toy gift idea

Double-Sided Tabletop Easel

This double-sided tabletop easel is high on top of our list of useful gifts for toddlers. It’s lightweight and stows away easily. When it’s time for quiet screen-free play, just lay it on any table surface and your toddler can draw on the chalkboard. Easily flip it over for the magnetic dry-erase side.

art easel as useful gifts for toddlers

This easel includes letters and numbers magnets for educational learning. Use the included paper roll to create even more masterpieces!

easel is a useful gift for toddler

Water-based magic mat 

No ink, no paint, non-toxic, and never make a mess! This practical gift for toddlers is one of my favorites. It keeps my toddlers busy for hours and I don’t have to worry about them drawing or painting in places where they’re not supposed to be.

This magic painting mat only used water to create art and disappeared after about 10 minutes. It’s super lightweight and packs easily so we always bring it whenever we travel.

useful gifts for kids

Beeswax triangle crayons

A must for all toddlers! These triangle-shaped crayons are designed for little hands, making them easier to grip and promoting proper pencil grip. Plus, their unique shape means they won’t roll away or break easily – perfect for budding artists on the go.

Best of all, these crayons are Handmade in New Zealand using 100% pure beeswax and food-grade pigments for color. It glides on smoothly and is completely safe for toddlers.

triangle crayons as useful gifts for toddlers

Useful gifts for toddlers that promote pretend play

Kids Yoga Mat

I never knew that toddlers can do yoga until my kids learned it at their daycare. Ever since then, they’ve been doing it at home and absolutely loving it.

I just let them follow Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube while I prepare dinner. I noticed that every time they do yoga before dinner, they eat and sit better.

A kid-sized yoga mat with a cute design is a great useful gift for toddlers!

yoga mat as useful gifts for toddlers

Realistic toddler-sized Dyson toy vacuum

From the twist and turn ball to the clear cylinder, this toy Dyson Ball looks and works just like the real thing. Move from room to room and pick up small bits of paper! There’s even a removable debris drawer for when clean-up time is over. Little helpers will enjoy moving around independently while taking on “real-life tasks”. Truly a unique and useful gift for toddlers!

Apparel & accessories can be useful gifts for toddlers too

Raincoat and Rainboots

Comes in a variety of cute designs, from duck to firefighter, dinosaur to duck, this raincoat makes the perfect practical gift for toddlers!

This raincoat is made of high-quality material on the outside, which makes it weatherproof and very quick to dry. The inner lining is made of cotton which is very soft on the skin. It can be worn in all seasons and in various scenes which gives your toddler a layer of protection when it is windy and rainy.

This is not your typical rainboot. The makers collaborate with local artists to create patterns inspired by the joys of childhood that delight boys and girls. Available in over 30 designs your toddler will love wearing these and don’t want to take off!

These rain boots are not just for the rain. With easy-on handles, your toddler can wear these in the garden or anytime they play outside.

Personalized Toddler Apron

Cooking, crafting, and gardening, this apron is so versatile, it can be used in all sorts of activities. Toddlers tend to be messy so protect their clothes with this cute toddler apron. This apron makes a perfect gift because it can be personalized with embroidered name. Comes in 2 sizes and a variety of colorful designs.

Best non-toy gifts for toddler girls

Princess Dresses

There’s something truly magical about the way toddler girls light up when they get the chance to dress up. Ever since I surprised Madi with this mermaid dress and matching accessories for her birthday, she’s been absolutely smitten, practically living in it!

These princess dresses are not just any ordinary toy; they’re a delightful way for your toddler girl to let her imagination run wild, engaging in endless pretend play adventures. Plus, it’s perfect for Halloween too!

Gatta have Elsa in every girl’s wardrobe!

Travel gears: practical non-toy gifts for toddlers

Toddler Nap Mat

Whether it’s for daycare or camping, this nap mat will become the perfect companion for your toddler. The roll-up design allows the mat to travel with ease as well as the convenient fastening closures straps and the carrying handle. 

These mats wash and pack easily with removable pillows. Also available in adorable 16 colors.

Hooded Wrap Towel

With a fun design both kids and parents will love, this bath towel is perfect for indoor and outdoor use as a cute bathroom, home, beach or pool accessory. Handy corner pockets will let kids keep this cool towel wrapped comfortably around them.

The super soft and comfy texture of the high-quality cotton terry material keeps toddlers warm and dry with highly absorbent material for quick drying after bathing, swimming or showering.

Toddler Size Dome Umbrella

These fun and colorful bubble umbrella makes a useful gift for Christmas, birthday, or any special occasion.

This umbrella is also available in adult size so perfect for mommy and me style. The rounded tips and a pinch-proof closure keep little hands safe while opening and closing the umbrella. This useful umbrella is perfect for the independent kid while making life easier for mom and dad.

Award-winning toys for toddlers that are also practical

Moonjar – Save Spend Share Bank

It’s never too early to teach your toddler about money. This multiple award-winning 3 In 1 Moneybox: has three canisters that have either Save, Spend, or Share printed on the side.

Your toddler will learn about simple financial concepts about how to SAVE, SPEND and SHARE their money wisely. 

I love it that this Moonjar can be bundled together to be placed on a desk or stored separately inside the drawer.

This is truly a useful gift for toddlers that also encourages them to spend their money carefully while sharing with others.

teach toddlers about saving money with this useful gift

Peg Board STEM Learning Set

This pegboard toy set is not your average learning toy. We’ve brought this with us wherever we travel. Since it comes in a neatly packed bag and is super lightweight, it makes it a great quiet toy for play. Both of my toddlers can play with this set for an hour without interruption. Talking about the best toy to pack when you travel!

useful gift for toddlers that are also travel friendly

Monthly subscriptions as useful gifts for toddlers

While there are many subscription boxes that simply offer toys, I wanted something that my toddlers can learn how to build.

After doing tons of research, I gave Kiwico a try. We started with the Koala crate when W was a year old. It’s been years since we’ve been subscribing and my toddlers are always so excited to receive them.

I love that these subscription boxes are not just toys, they are projects that inspire toddlers’ creativity and curiosity through fun hands-on activities.

I’ve written a detailed review about Kiwico here.

kiwico crate as useful gifts for toddlers

Final verdict

There you have it! The ultimate list of useful gifts for toddlers.

Although shopping for toddlers can be really tricky, there are plenty of great options out there to choose from! It’s important to keep in mind their interests and development when it comes to gifting them with something that will engage their minds, creativity, and stimulation.

Pick up some of these useful gifts ideas for your toddler today – you won’t regret it.

And hey, why not have a bit fun too? After all, isn’t that the best part about being a kid?

Let me know in the comments below what type of gifts have been the biggest hit with your little ones.

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